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Feud Turns Deadly on St. John

Nov. 30, 2007 — A 22-year-old St. John man died Thursday up the street from Pine Peace Market after an apparent feud with another man turned deadly, according to Deputy Police Chief Darren Foy.
Alston Smith was dead of a single gunshot wound to the head when police arrived at the scene. Police were called at 5:57 p.m.
Smith's brother identified the victim.
"Then we got a call from a lady saying she was bringing in her son, who just shot someone," Foy said Friday.
Police Department Monyka Johnigan said police arrested Michael Steve Abraham, 21, on first-degree murder charges, but those charges were downgraded to unlawful possession of a firearm when Abraham appeared Friday at a Superior Court advice of rights hearing.
"They're unable to pin a homicide on him yet, but we're continuing the investigation," Assistant Police Commissioner Novelle Francis said Friday.
Abraham's mother called 911 at 7:53 p.m., according to a police department news release. She brought Abraham and the weapon to the police station. Abraham turned himself in without incident.
Foy addressed the issue of guns leading to violence in the territory. They come in through the airport and the mail, he said. To help get them off the street, residents should call the police when they hear shots fired, he said. Police will search the area in hopes of finding the person with the gun.
"They can make an anonymous call," Foy said.
St. John Administrator Leona Smith called for action from the police to prevent further incidents such as this one.
"They need to enforce the curfew and loitering laws," she said.
While this homicide happened in the early evening, feuds often begin late at night when the island's youth congregate, Smith said.
"In Cruz Bay, you see all those kids hanging out, and the majority are not over 18," she said.
Parents need to keep tabs on their children so they're not out late when the potential for trouble increases, Smith said. While she hears complaints that there is nothing for youth to do on St. John, she says that isn't so. The island offers programs at the Parks and Recreation Department and a baseball clinic, and the basketball court is another option.
"And the kids need to be inventive, too," she said.
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